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Agbaou Gold Mine is located approximately 200km northwest of the port city of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. Endeavour Mining has 85% interest in the gold mine, while the remaining 15% is held by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.
Construction activities at the mine began in June 2012 and the first gold was poured in November 2013. Full commercial production is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2014. The project has generated up to 850 construction jobs and is expected to create 350 jobs during operations. The total cost of construction is estimated to reach $159m.
The engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) contractor for the project is Lycopodium, while the mining contractor is BCM International.
The average production capacity of the gold mine is estimated at 103,000oz per year, and the expected mine life is eight years.
Geology and reserves at the West African gold mine
The Agbaou Gold project spans over 46,900ha, lying within the Oume-Fetekro greenstone belt of Birimian age, where the prevalent rocks are deformed, mafic volcanics which have changed to greenschist facies.
The gold mineralisation is typically of two categories: laterite cap and primary. The laterite cap, which exhibits secondary mineralisation, ranges in thickness from one to five metres covering the entire deposit area.
The primary mineralised envelope is 60m to 100m broad, and hosted within quartz vein types, such as brecciation, boudinage, sericitic, and carbonate alteration. Gold occurs in variable amounts of sulphide (pyrite and pyrrhotite) assemblage.
Agbaou gold mine reserves
The West African gold mine is estimated to contain 5.407million tonnes (Mt) of proven reserves and 5.668Mt of probable reserves grading at 2.3g/t Au and 2.8g/t Au respectively.
Mining and infrastructure at Agbaou
Agbaou is being mined through conventional open pit mining techniques using hydraulic excavators and rear-dump trucks. Two D9 dozers, seven 777 haul trucks, and two Liebherr 9350 excavators are being used for the operation.
Free digging is being done to retrieve the oxide portion of the ore body, while the transition and fresh rock portions are being drilled and blasted. The open pits reach a maximum depth of 150m to 175m.
The processing plant at the site will be capable of treating 1.6million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of dry saprolite ore and 1.34Mtpa of dry bedrock ore. The plant integrates a single stage SAG mill and ball mill and a pebble crusher in the milling circuit, capable of treating 203tph of saprolite ore and 170tph of bedrock ore.
A conventional gravity and carbon in leach (CIL) circuit at the plant enables a recovery rate of 93% for saprolite and 91% for bedrock.
The waste material from the excavation area is hauled to an external waste dump located adjacent to the operational pits.
Two oxygen plants, including one duty and one standby air compressors, will be installed to meet the oxygen demand of five tonnes per day.
Other major infrastructure at the mine includes a raw water dam, a raw water supply system, tailings storage facility, access roads and site roads, warehouses and lay down yards, an administration building, a laboratory, a stand-by power plant, a plant control room incorporating SCADA system, and accommodation facilities.
The gold mine is connected to the national power grid via a 15km long, 91kV power line. A high voltage transformer is also installed at the Agbaou substation.
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